Sep 11, 2014

Baby Update

Time is just getting away from me.  Lennon will be here before I know it!  Time stood still when we were trying to get pregnant and now that we are, it is racing at the speed of light.  This pregnancy is in the final countdown and I couldn't be more ready to meet our sweet girl!!!

Here is a catch up of the last 10 (almost 11 weeks).  How am I right at 31 weeks, crazy?!

* Sleep is still my only downfall.  I count myself lucky in knowing that MANY people have it MUCH worse- if sleeping is my only issue then that is ok!  Some nights are ok and I sleep through the night (well minus at least 3 bathroom breaks) and then other nights I have insomnia so bad I am up most of the night.  

* Lennon's growth.  So far so good in this department.  In fact I am measuring quite big.  I passed my 1 hour glucose test (woohoo)- but when I went back to the doc at 29.5 weeks I was measuring closer to 33 weeks.  So we actually have an ultrasound next week to get a better idea of her size.  If she is measuring that large they may do some additional testing for diabetes.  Or they may just keep an eye on her weight.  The doc said that there is a lot of room for inaccuracy when they are measuring your belly with the tape measure.  But he just wants to check on her size to be safe.  I am not complaining, I get another peek at my sweet girl!  At that appt I had only gained 9lbs so far the whole pregnancy, so they aren't concerned with my weight gain, we may just have a chubby bunny on our hands  :)

* I have been feeling really good.  But the 3rd trimester exhaustion has set in.  I feel tired often and I cant do as much as I used to which is frustrating.  My mind wants to be able to do things, but my body just cant keep up.  So that has been an adjustment.  I make sure I take it easy a lot more these days.  I over did it one saturday a week or so ago and I paid for it with no sleep and a sore body for about 2 days.  Lesson learned- relax!

* We opted to go somewhere for a 4D ultrasound- we have an appt this weekend!  We didn't get very good pictures at our anatomy scan so we decided to do the additional ultrasound.  I cannot wait to see my little chubby princess!

* I have started to get comments from strangers about my pregnancy and all things related- those are fun!  Mostly comments on my size, ya know the ones that really boost your self esteem (sarcasm)!  I know people don't mean them maliciously, but commenting on how big someone is when they tell you their due date is not a flattering compliment.  I cant wait to hear what else i get over the next 9 weeks, should be fun! :)

* Nursery update- the nursery is almost done! Whew!  The only thing I have left to do is get some sheets for the twin bed and hang stuff on the wall.  Everything else is done- we have a crib, dresser/changing table, rocking chair, etc.  I will be sure to post some pics when it is done.  I really love how it is coming together.

* We have had 2 baby showers already- they were wonderful!  We still have the big one in Burlington in a couple of weeks and both of us will have one at work.  We are so fortunate to have people around that want to do this for us- it really means so much!

(29 weeks)

(30 weeks)

Jul 2, 2014

Week 14-20 Catch Up!

Maybe since I am over half way through this pregnancy it is time I document something about it.  I couldn't wait to do these updates prior to getting pregnant and now here I am and I have recorded basically nothing!

Its just such a hard thing, I have worried most of this pregnancy, and with my track record I never wanted to get ahead of myself.  I never wanted to post something about this and then something terrible happen.  But I really feel like now that im almost 21 weeks I can start to relax a bit, I really feel good about this pregnancy and think its time to share some details!

I think in my last baby related post I was around 14 weeks, so I will just do a quick recap of the week 14-20.

Week 14- I felt great, no real symptoms or issues at all.  My only downfall was sleep.  I envy all those ladies that are pregnant that sleep like rocks.  I was TOTAL opposite.  I could not sleep no matter how tired I was.  My problem was never falling asleep, I could always do that very easily, it was staying asleep.  Some nights I would wake up at 12 and be up for 1-2 hours, just wide awake.  Other times I would sleep until 3am and then be up for the day.  It just varied, but sleeping through the night was a thing of the past.  This broken sleep started almost immediately.  I would say it hit its worst peak between week 14-16.
Week 15-  I went back to the doctor for a checkup this week and took my mom with me.  She loves going to these appointments with me.  It was a fairly uneventful appointment - one where we just listened to the heart beat and had some blood work done.  I did get a recording of the heartbeat which is great, because I can listen to it any time I want!  Music to my ears!
Week 16/17- Nothing really to report during these weeks other than Lennon must have been going through a growth spurt.  In my broken sleep I would wake up FAMISHED.  Like cannot shut my eyes and go back to sleep- that's how hungry I was.  The thought of actually eating something in the middle of the night seemed like a lot of work, so I just bought Carnation instant breakfast- the powder you mix with milk.  It is quick and easy and satisfied the hunger pains.  I am not a milk drinker to begin with, but if you mix it with chocolate powder, I'm all in.  I figured this was also a good way to get calcium in that I otherwise wouldn't.  I probably got up once every night during these weeks to eat.  But I am happy to report that it has since calmed down! Now I have my chocolate milk during breakfast hours!
(17 weeks 2 days)

Week 18-  We went for our anatomy scan this week.  We were so excited for this scan- but also very anxious.  We were just nervous and ready to make sure everything looked great with Lennon.  It was so cool to see some of the images from the scan, we happily took some home with us, which we love.  She must be tucked away because we didn't get really great images, but anytime we get to catch a glimpse of our girl is worth it!

Week 19- I went to visit a genetic counselor for an initial consultation.  My brother in law was born with a heart defect, so my doctor wants me to have a fetal echo done on Lennon's heart just to be safe.  All looked well with her heart at the anatomy scan, however, this will just be an extra measure.  After talking to the genetic counselor she said Lennon's risk is VERY low, but we will still proceed with the echo just to be extra sure.
Week 20- I am smack dab in the middle of week 20 right now!  I feel great, I am sleeping a bit better.  I still get up at least 2 times a night to use the bathroom, but don't have any trouble falling back asleep.  I have really started to feel Lennon too- I thought I felt her a couple of weeks ago, but they were so few and far between that I just wasn't sure.  But now I feel her everyday, they still aren't hard kicks or anything, but rather feels like bubbles popping or something to that effect.  I cannot wait until they get harder and Chris can feel her.
(20 weeks- half way there!)

We have Lennon's fetal echo scheduled for next week- I have to go to a specialist for this since my doctors office isn't equipped to do the procedure.  It should just be an in depth look at her heart via ultrasound.  We are hopeful that all is well with her, we have no reason to believe it is not.  And we certainly cannot wait to see her again during that ultrasound.
Overall I have been extremely lucky, no morning sickness, nothing.  I can count on 1 hand how many times I've been nauseous, and its only lasted a minute or 2.  I honestly feel great and for all of my pregnancy really haven't 'felt' pregnant.  I am so thankful for how well it has been going and for the chance to do this.  Our journey here was hard (well for us at least) and we are just so blessed and thankful it is our turn!
As far as nursery goes, we really haven't done much.  We put new flooring down in parts of our house (her room included). The only things I have purchase for her nursery are a rug, a dresser/changing table, and a side table.  I think I will order the crib next week and start looking at things for her walls!  We also need to register, I started one online with things I didn't need to see in person, but we haven't picked out all of the big things.  So much to look forward to in the next couple of months!!
(The start of her nursery)

Jun 4, 2014

Lennon Marie Collins

Our precious girl officially has a name...
Lennon Marie Collins
Lennon is a name we have loved for a long time- we knew if we were to have a girl her name would be Lennon.  We plan to call her Lenni for short :)
Marie is after my sisters middle name.  We think Lennon Marie has a nice ring to it and we cannot wait to meet our sweet girl!

Jun 2, 2014

Dutch Collins 5/1/2014

If you know Chris and I then you know that our dogs mean the world to us.  We both came into our relationship each with a dog of our own.  Beazley came with me and Dutch with Chris.  We learned quickly that not only did Chris and I love each other from very early on but so did our boys.  They became the best of friends and got along so well.  Where one went the other followed close behind.  Life with both of them was so fun, they definitely kept us on our toes, they were our babies.

In November 2013 we noticed that our boy Dutch wasn't feeling well.  So we took him to the vet where he was later diagnosed with a tumor on his spleen- a Hemangioma Sarcoma.  We knew that the prognosis was eventually terminal and instead of putting him through surgery and chemo we decided to just let him come home and live the remainder of his life with us.  Within a couple of days of the diagnosis he was feeling much better and was back to acting like a crazy man.  Over the next 6 months we babied him, loved him really hard, and let him get away with more than we should have because we didn't know when his time would come to leave our family. 

 (Brother always close by)

(Watching over his sick brother)

At the end of April we noticed that he wasn't feeling well again.  In the past it was just something his body had to work through and usually in a couple of days he was back to normal.  After about 5 days passed with no improvement we knew this was probably the beginning of the end.  So we decided to make the best of the situation- we took him to the beach.  Dutch had never had the chance to go to the beach in his 8 years of life.  For one reason or another, it just never happened.  So we packed up on a Friday and headed to the coast.  Even though Dutch wasn't feeling well, he perked up when we go to the beach.  He had the time of his life.  He loved the sand and the breeze on the beach.  He ran his heart out and loved chasing the Frisbee. 

 (On the way to the beach)
 (Dutch's first trip to the beach- 5 days before he passed)

It was a short trip and we came home the next day, but Chris and I were both thankful that we had the chance to get him to the beach.  Just a short 5 days later we knew his time had come.  I stayed home with him this day because he could no longer get up or walk.  Around 4:30 that afternoon I called Chris and told him he needed to come home because it was time.  We took Dutch up to his vet and we were able to put him to sleep while we were by his side.  We then took him out to Chris' parents house and buried him on their land.  He has a beautiful grave adorned with 'Earth Angel' and 'Forget me Not' flowers.  It is special to us that we can go visit his grave whenever we want.

To say we miss him would not do justice to the void we have in our lives and in our hearts.  He was such a fun loving, loyal, and energetic dog.  He was the light of Chris' life, and they spent nearly everyday for the last 8 years together.  He loved Chris back immensely- there was never a question who is master was or where his loyalty lied.  Many people were frightened of Dutch at first meeting but it only took about 2 minutes to realize that he was just a big baby.  All he sought was love and affirmation from everyone he met.  It is true when they say you will fall in love with a pit bull smile.  Dutch had a smile that we will never forget. 

While we would have loved for Dutch to live long enough to meet our little girl due in November, we know that it was his time to go.  We all miss his crazy personality terribly, including Beazley.  It has been hard on him losing his best friend.  We are all adjusting to life without him.  Our only concern with Dutch's diagnosis was to make sure he never suffered.  We know that he lived his life to the max even until the very end- and we hope he knows how loved he was then and even now.


May 14, 2014

For this child we prayed....

Warning.....very long post ahead!
Chris and I have no doubt been through our share of challenges in the time that we have been married. I think our toughest challenge besides dealing with the death of my dad was facing a pregnancy loss.  We knew our journey to a child would be a little more challenging than most and we were ready for that.  What we weren't ready for was a loss.  I know no one is, but it is something that you can't prepare for and it's a hurt that I have never experienced, nor do I wish to ever experience again.

When we decided to start trying for a baby we enlisted the help of some really great doctors.  We were ecstatic to find we got pregnant the first month we tried.  How lucky were we?  Our bliss was short lived and at almost 10 weeks we found out that the baby's heart had stopped. We were absolutely devastated, how do you even prepare for that kind of news.  It hit us both to the core and very much changed our outlook on many things.  After healing had taken place we decided to give it another shot and returned to our favorite specialist for assistance.  We tried for 3 more months with medication, but no luck.  At that point our doctor thought it was best to peruse the next step, an IUI.  We were so hopeful that the IUI would work and when it didn't it was a huge reality check.  We trusted our doctor and kept going.  We finally got our positive test on our 3rd IUI- finally, it was our turn. 

I never knew how emotional this journey would be.  I would be lying if I said that I didn't get mad at the process.  There were many times when I would say to Chris, 'Why can everyone else get pregnant so easily, but I can't?'  It is easy to judge from the outside looking in- but in reality what I didn't know was everyone else's struggle.  To me all I saw was pregnancy announcement after pregnancy announcement from everyone (lord knows everyone) and I just assumed that it happened for them so easily.  But what if it didn't.  My journey here has taught me that things are always very different than they appear from the outside.  You never know the struggle people are facing.  I appreciate the people that knew my journey and the ones that were extra sensitive towards Chris and I when it came to all things pregnancy.  And to those that weren't sensitive, they have also taught me a great deal.  They taught me to be a stronger person and to realize that some people just don't understand.  They don't understand what you have been through and that is ok.  Because of my journey I now know how to be sensitive to others that may be in similar situations.  I have learned so much about myself over the last 2 years and it has definitely strengthened my relationship with Chris, I definitely wouldn't have been able to get through the rough times without his love and support. 
Recently our journey got a little bit sweeter.  On March 4th I took a test and got the positive that I had been so desperately hoping for.  It is a day I will never forget.  I woke up around 4am and had to use the bathroom and thought to myself why not test now? I remember taking a test and then jumping in the bed to wait a couple of minutes, telling myself, 'Don't be disappointed if it is negative.  We will get through this, we always do.'  I remember getting back up and not wanting to look at the results because I feared it would be a let down.  So I glanced at the tests (yes multiple) and the first one was negative.  I threw it away and picked up the second.  On first glance I thought it was another negative and was about to toss it when I thought, maybe, just maybe that could be a second line.  So I squinted my eyes and looked at it again eventually setting it down to go back to bed.  I got back up a few minutes before Chris' alarm went off so that I could check out the test again, and sure enough there was a second line, it was faint but it was there!  I then hid the test because I didn't want Chris to see it when he took a shower.  I got back it bed and he got up for the morning.  Obviously when you go through fertility treatments nothing is really a surprise.  My entire family (Chris included) knew the day I was supposed to test.  In an effort to have some kind of surprise I tested a day early.  I knew I wanted to surprise Chris.  So I waited until he got out of the shower and while we were talking I told him how I had been awake since 4 am.  He asked me why I couldn't sleep and I told him it was because of this- and I handed him the pregnancy test.  He knew immediately what this meant and we both had a good, happy cry that morning.  I will never forget that moment.  The flood of emotions was heavy, on one hand we were so excited that we finally were pregnant again, but on the other hand our minds wandered back to the events of last year.  We knew that whatever was to happen was going to happen regardless of how much we worried. 
We went and had blood work done twice to confirm the pregnancy.  Since we were working with a specialist we had appointments early on- our first was at 5w3d.  They confirmed that there definitely was a pregnancy, but it was still too early to see a baby or hear a heart beat. 

(5w3d- yolk sack pictured)

We came back at 6w6d and heart the best sound there is, the heart beat of our sweet baby.  The heart beat was right on target at 137 bpm.  This appointment was bittersweet for us.  This was our last appointment with our specialist- I was so happy to be 'graduating' to a regular doctor because that meant things were progressing positively, however, this is who helped me get pregnant.  We had been working together for over a year.  It was another emotional day for us but one that was also very exciting.

(6w6d- you can see a baby!)

I then got to go see my regular doctor just a couple of days later at 7w2d and much to my surprise got another ultrasound!  We loved getting to hear the heart beat again!
At this point we felt good, but knew we would feel much better if we could make it past the 9-10 week mark.  This would put us farther than we made it before.  Over the next 3 weeks until we had our next appointment we tried to keep ourselves busy.  We took a long weekend trip to new York, which was really fun, but hard to do at 8 weeks pregnant (ie the walking and all of the NY smells).  :)
It was finally time for our next appointment.  We opted in for the extended 1st trimester screening which included manyyyyy chromosomal tests as well as determining gender.  That's right, we were going to find out gender early through a blood test.  We went back to the doc at 10w4d.  We were so nervous going into this appointment but came out feeling much more content.  We got to hear the heart beat again and it was a strong 166 bpm
(10w4d- baby really looking like a baby now!)
We then had to wait an agonizing week and a half for results from the screening.  We got the call on Friday May 2nd that our results were all normal and we also found out that we are having a precious little girl!  We could not be more thankful than at this moment in our lives.  We are still battling nerves about something going wrong but are learning to trust that things are ok.  This is a hard thing, but each day that passes we let some of the anxiety go. 
We are very much looking forward to our next appointment (at 15 1/2 weeks)- it cannot get here fast enough.  We just keep looking to the future and cannot wait for the day that we can hold our precious girl in our arms, what a magical day that will be!
For all of our friends and family that prayed for us and helped us through our hard times, you will never know the appreciation we have for each and every one of you.  It is because of you all that we are where we are today and we cant wait to continue to share this special journey with you! 

Mar 12, 2014

Let's Catch Up, Shall We?

I can't believe I havent written anything since September, where has the time gone??

So much has happened since then, here are some of the highlights....

  • On November 19th, we celebrated my Dad's life.  I cannot even believe it has been a year (now longer) since he passed away.  I miss him every single second of every single day.  The hurt never goes away but it does get easier.  I just hold onto the fact that everyday without his is one day closer to seeing him again, what a glorious day that will be!

(Celebration of Life at Mom's house- we also released Carolina Blue balloons with notes from each of us)

  • Our sweet Dutch boy got sick- long story short- he stopped eating, drinking, playing, & basically being himself.  We took him in and after many tests they concluded that he has a tumor on his spleen, called a hemangioma.  We decided against surgery and opted to bring him home to live the rest of his life happy and with the people that love him (me, chris, and beaz).  He is feeling much better and could have more 'episodes' as they call it, but right now we are just praying that he lives the rest of his life (however long that may be), pain free!  If you can ever spare an extra prayer, one for him would be much appreciated!

(Dutch not feeling well, brother B on watch)

  • The holidays were good this year, much better than last year.  Christmas was so fun with William- he is at such a fun age!

  • January 18th was a very bittersweet day for us- that would have been our sweet baby's due date.  We know that this is all in God's timing, but we did let ourselves be sad for the day, dreaming about what could have been.  I sure hope my Dad is taking care of our little jellybean in heaven- we cannot wait to see them both some day.

  • Chris and I take a trip to the mountains every year with our friends- we traveled back to Boone again this year and had a blast!  We love spending time with them, it is always very interesting when we all get together!

  • Chris started school again- which means I am doing homework again.  Whew, I don't remember having this much work when I was in college, times have changed (or maybe I just got old)!

  • On February 18th, my first niece was born, Felicity Rose Collins.  We are so excited that there is a little girl around now and think she is just the sweetest and cutest thing!

  • Mr. William celebrated his 1st birthday, Mickey Mouse style.  I cannot believe he is a year old- what a special boy he is.  We had so much fun celebrating with him and spending time with our friends (Rebecca, Barrett, and little Ellison)! We hope William had the best birthday, he is loved by so many!

  • We put in new floors and have redone a ton in our condo (more on that in another post)- and plan on getting it back on the market in hopes to FINALLY sell this place!

March has started off good- we are looking forward to wonderful things and to also celebrate Chris' birthday later this month!

And just for fun one of my favorite things to do is Face Time with William, he really likes to give Kisses!  I could just eat him up!
(Kisses for Aunt Kristi!)

Sep 25, 2013

The Short List

Or should i say the long list?

In light of the recent Debbie Downer posts i thought i would compile of list of things that i'm thankful for or things that currently make me happy....

1- This cooler weather
Man, i love the fall.  I walked out of my house this morning and it was chilly- i loved it.  I want it to stay like this forever, cool in the morning, mid 70's in the afternoon.  Perfection.

2-  My new water bottle.
I know, happy about a water bottle?  Does this need anymore explanation?  If you are ever in the Nags Head area, TW's Bait and Tackle has a TON of Pirate gear.  I found out the owner has children at ECU and that's why he carries a lot of the stuff!  Winning!

3- New TV series
Well, new to me!  Chris and I jumped on the Breaking Bad bandwagon a while ago.  We caught up the other night.  Good lord that show is insane!  My other favorites are Scandal, Prison Break, Orange is the New Black, and Mistresses.  Guilty pleasure for sure!

4- PSL
A little secret of mine?  I never really cared for the Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks.  This year?  Game changer.  I didn't realize how good those things were!  I usually order skinny/decaf so that i don't feel as guilty having one....i cant tell the difference! Yum!

5- B & D
You could say Chris and I are obsessed with our dogs.  They provide endless amounts of entertainment and, seriously, who doesn't love these faces?!?!

6- The 'W'
Also know as Chubbers or Bug or William :)
I recently got to spend an entire week with him at the beach.  It was the best week.  I cannot get over how cute he is- i could cry thinking about how much i love him.  He loved the beach, i am already looking forward to next year.  He will be a beach pro!

7- Chris
He is really the sweetest guy.  I cant even begin to explain the love and support he shows me, not just through the tough times but always.